Necessity is truly the mother of invention, at least when it comes to stuffed flatbreads and pandemics.
“Being gluten intolerant, I noticed all those people who can’t have gozleme because they have coeliac disease or gluten intolerance,” says Sadikoglu. “So I wanted to make gluten-free gozleme that was high quality and delicious, so that no one ever had to miss out on eating it.”
But at the time, Sadikoglu couldn’t get his business off the ground at other markets. So the gozleme lover ceased the stall and stuck to his day job in media sales instead. That was until the Covid-19 pandemic hit home.
“A week before I was due to start a new job in January 2020, the company that had hired me decided they didn’t want to keep the job anymore. I was jobless. Then Covid happened. So I drove an Uber but then I had a car accident and the car was a write-off.
"I was unemployed. I lived by myself and couldn’t pay the rent anymore.”
As these events happened, Sadikoglu watched close members of his family also lose their jobs in hospitality and events. “I was quite depressed – for myself and my family. Everything felt like it was going downhill.
“Covid near killed me,” Sadikoglu tells SBS, describing the economic impact of the pandemic. “I had to surrender. That’s when I started my company, The Goz.”
Sadikoglu decided to reinvent his former side business with a home-based twist. He posted about his ‘heat and eat’ home-delivered product on Facebook in April and soon, word about his gluten-free gozleme spread throughout the NSW coeliac disease online community. In a matter of weeks, Australia’s first gluten-free home delivery supplier of gozleme – The Goz – was officially born.
“Covid near killed me. I had to surrender. That’s when I started my company, The Goz.”
“Covid is what made us. With people staying at home during lockdown, and restaurants and cafes being closed, people’s access to ready-made foods became limited. When the demand for home deliveries grew, so too did the demand for my gluten-free product.
"As sad as Covid was, The Goz just happened to be the right idea at the right time.”
The business now operates out of a commercial kitchen and employs Sadikoglu’s mother and her partner who both lost their jobs due to Covid.
“A Turkish nonna that used to work with us at the markets has joined us too because she didn't have a job. So we’ve gathered everyone up who needed a job and started working commercially."
The Goz recently partnered with a home delivery service and currently operates throughout Canberra, parts of regional NSW, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay and Melbourne.
“We now produce between 200 to 300 gozleme per week. We have the capacity to grow more but I want to make sure I keep the product as authentic as possible.”
The Goz sells five gozleme flavours – from the ‘Ryan Gosling’ with Portuguese chicken, mushroom, mozzarella and feta to ‘Oh my goz’ filled Nutella gozleme – with lactose-free cheese and low FODMAP flavour options (onion and garlic free) also available.
The business will soon launch a gozleme using the meat alternative, Beyond Meat for gluten-free vegans.
The gozleme flatbread recipe features tapioca and buckwheat, as well as dried xanthan and guar gum to substitute gluten. Gluten-free, vegan baklava is also available for purchase with any gozleme delivery order.
“Making gluten-free gozleme is something that gives me pride because I realise I’m so lucky to have the cultural background that I do and have been exposed to this food from a young age."
“Gluten free is always regarded as a worse version of the original,” he says. “But I can proudly say that because we use five-star ingredients, our gozleme and baklava are a better and healthier version than what you’re used to.”
Sadikoglu is also working towards gaining an official Coeliac Australia gluten-free accreditation for his products.
“Making gluten-free gozleme is something that gives me pride because I realise I’m so lucky to have the cultural background that I do and have been exposed to this food from a young age.
“I am also proud of the business because I get to feed people with gluten-free food needs and it also provides for my family…It’s quite humbling.”